Women fight back at meth use after seeing devastating effects on families

By Alice Lock -
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Lovey Edwards is involved with Nannies Against P, started by Nga Kairauhii Trust. Photo/ Duncan Brown.
Lovey Edwards is involved with Nannies Against P, started by Nga Kairauhii Trust. Photo/ Duncan Brown.

Hawke's Bay nannies who have seen first-hand the devastating effects of methamphetamine (P) on their families are taking a stand against the drug.

Maori health trust Nga Kairauhii trustee Lovey Edwards felt shocked, helpless and scared when a family member turned up on her doorstep unrecognisable and lost.

"It had only been three months since I last saw them and they weren't being normal so I asked them what had happened and it was then when they told me they were on drugs.

"I had no idea the extent of the problem and just thought 'oh my God what can I do for this young person'. It was so sad to see."

Fellow trustee Anne Hakiwai was also involved in an incident involving her family and P.

"For so long now I just swept it under the carpet, not really knowing who to turn to for help.

"It was devastating to see someone's behaviour change so rapidly and it was also very scary," Ms Hakiwai said.

The pair opened up about their concerns at the Nga Kairauhii trustee meeting and instigated the "Nannies against P" movement.

They want to support families, especially the elderly, who were dealing with the fallout of the P epidemic.

Trust chairwoman Areta Te Huia said these incidents were becoming more prevalent so it was important that families knew where to get support from.

Health Hawke's Bay chairman and Hastings District councillor Bayden Barber jumped on board and last Saturday facilitated the first hui at Omahu Marae where about 80 families were represented.

Mr Barber said the meeting was a chance for the community to gather, share their experiences and start working towards solutions.

"The stories that came through were heart wrenching."

Mrs Edwards said it was eye-opening listening to stories similar to her own.

"I was amazed at how many people got up, it was really emotional. One person who used to sell the drug spoke and apologised in case she sold it to the families there."

Among the nannies were drug detection specialist Bo Fox, family lawyer Caroline Hickman and various drug and addiction providers.

Statistics shared by Mr Fox at the meeting showed Hawke's Bay was second only to Auckland for manufacturing methamphetamine.

Mr Barber said although there were support services in place for those abusing drugs often nannies were the ones left to "pick up the pieces" when things fall apart.

The next step for the group was to establish what support services existed and how much of that support was available to families suffering the effects of drug abuse.

"No one is immune. It's not a poverty thing because people with money are dabbling in this issue...We need a community response," Mr Barber said.

If anyone is keen to join the movement phone Nga Kairauhii receptionist Memory Kaukau on 021 1621533 or Ms Te Huia on 8787558.

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